Sunday afternoon saw a unique doubleheader in the Lehigh Valley, as two Philadelphia Union affiliates took to the pitch at Goodman Stadium at Lehigh University. In the opener, Reading United A.C. - Philadelphia’s long time PDL affiliate - scored 1-0 victory over Lehigh Valley United Sonic. In the second game of the day, the Union’s new USL team Bethlehem Steel FC came from behind to defeat FC Montreal 2-1.
Former Reading United head coach David Castellanos faced off against his former team Sunday in the PDL opener for both squads. Reading came out with a blistering attack that saw two quick scoring opportunities in the opening minute of the match.
Reading came close to scoring shortly after the first touch off a strong header from Frantzdy Pierrot, which was deflected out by former Reading keeper Kyle Morton. On the resulting corner, the ball found Khori Bennett alone in the box and he drilled home the first and only score of the game. The score was Bennett’s second of the season. He also managed a goal in a hard fought U.S. Open Cup win Wednesday night against the Atlanta Silverbacks.
After the early goal the Reading United defense took command, being led by Union Academy products Will Campbell and Billy McConnell. Lehigh Valley managed a few chances for the equalizer but they were stopped by Reading’s goalkeeper Steffen Kraus and the strong defense the entire 90 minutes plus. United defenders Nestor Aguilar and Charlie Reymann also played a key role in the team’s second shutout of the season.
In extra time, Lehigh Valley missed what was its best chance to tie the game, as a shot was ripped just wide of the net. Shortly afterwards, the referee’s whistle ended what had been a hard fought match on both sides. After the game, several players from last year’s Reading United team who followed Castellanos to Lehigh Valley congratulated their former teammates on the win.
Next up for Reading United is a trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee on Wednesday for a second round U.S. Open Cup match, which will begin at 7:30 PM. For those fans that cannot make the trip, there will be a viewing party at P.J. Whelihans in West Lawn, PA starting at 7:00 PM.